Importance of APIs in Mobile App Development

APIs in Mobile App Development

You might have come across the term ‘API’ while discussing mobile or web application development. In layman terms, APIs are the language through which applications speak to each other. Today, APIs serve as a foundation in the app development process and allow companies to grow their businesses by using services provided by external firms.

What is an API?

API is an acronym for “application program interface.” It is a set of routines and protocols that enables access to another party’s application or platform. An API is a software-to-software interface, through which the applications talk to each other without any user knowledge or intervention.

Let me explain you with an example: When you buy tickets through a movie ticket booking application on your smart phone, the application uses an API to send your credit card data to a 3rd party application for verification. The remote application then retrieves that data, interprets it, verify your card details and sends it back to the application. The application then interprets that data and confirm your tickets.

What is a SDK?

A Software Development Kit (SDK) is a set of software development tools that allows creation of applications for a specific development platform and software framework. Both SDK and API are related to each other. Technically speaking, APIs are a part of a SDK and executes tasks when a call is made. Going little deeper, an API is a part of a build that is used to feed information while a SDK is a set of tools used to build an application.

Increasing Importance of APIs:

APIs, if referred to as the one of the most important technologies behind mobile application development won’t be an overstatement. The increasing importance of APIs can be attributed to their role in defining the way developers build their apps as well as the ease with which they integrate various web services into them. App users today seek various services on the fly to perform multiple tasks and APIs are the ones that make this possible.

Advantage of using API

  • Saves Developer’s time

APIs can save considerable amount of time, as it eliminates the task of writing endless lines of code. There are pre-built APIs available from top web services which can be used to shorten the app development cycle and reduces the coding errors.

  • Convenient

Today many apps comes with the functionality of social media logins. Without creating a need to sign up for the app separately, users can directly sign-in through their Google or Facebook credentials. This becomes extremely convenient for users as they need not create a different username. This is done through the integration of APIs provided by respective social media companies.

  • Ensures Faster development

Mobile apps today have a robust API backend which makes sure that the repetitive steps are eliminated by the using the existing web API services. By connecting the SDKs with the existing APIs, developers can get the app developed faster while ensuring high quality standards. APIs eliminate the repetitive process, thus making sure the developer focuses more on core features of the app and help gain competitive advantage.

  • Help Automate App Testing

With the help of APIs, developers can automate the app testing process and save the time which otherwise would have consumed in manual testing process. Test automation feature makes sure none of the bugs remain undetected and thus help developers deliver an app which stands high on both – quality and user expectations.

Widely Used APIs

  • Facebook API: The Facebook API is used to access the login database of Facebook.  It offers social plugins that display Facebook posts and “Like” buttons to your website. Facebook offers several APIs including Internationalization, Ads and Chat.
  • Google Maps API: Google provide a set of Google Maps APIs that allows you to add maps feature in your mobile app. A user can use the app without leaving the app through JavaScript or Flash. You can various map functions such as embedding a Google Map, Static Map or Google Earth, adding Geocoding and Google Directions Functionality.
  • YouTube API: YouTube provides several APIs that allows access to the engaging content on the platform. It allows developers to access the video analytics and channel data through two calls – REST and XML-RPC.
  • Amazon Product Advertising API: The Amazon Product Advertising API give developers access to lots of Amazon data such as product listings, customer reviews, seller ratings as well product ads. Through Amazon’s Affiliate program, you can showcase product ads in the app and earn affiliate commission.

Conclusion

APIs serves as bridge for apps to interact with each other. By integrating popular APIs in your app, you can enhance the user experience and increase the popularity of your app. For developers, APIs help build apps faster by eliminating the need to code repetitively. Mobile app development companies foresee the important role that APIs will play in creating a successful app and thus the importance of APIs in mobile app development will grow day by day.

We at TOPS Infosolutions use several API services in Mobile App Development to provide user-friendly, easily accessible apps for our clients. For more information visit www.topsinfosolutions.com or drop us an email at contact@topsinfosolutions.com

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